January 9, 2010

Clay Shoveler Fracture

A lateral cervical spine radiograph and sagittal-reformatted CT image show an oblique fracture of the C7 vertebra with slight displacement. There is no extension to the lamina or facet joint on axial CT (not shown).

Clay Shoveler Fracture
  • Avulsion, hyperflexion injury of the spinous process of C6, C7 or T1
  • Typically oblique in orientation
  • Due to abrupt flexion of the head and neck against tensed posterior neck ligaments
  • First described in Australian clay miners who attempted to throw a shovel full of clay from the mine floor but the shovel stuck in the clay, causing abrupt hyperflexion of the neck
  • Mechanically and neurologically stable unless it extends into the lamina. Also should look for facet joint injury or dislocation
Schwartz ED, Flanders AE. Spinal trauma: imaging, diagnosis and management, 2007, 1st ed.

Follow RiTradiology on Facebook, Twitter or Google Friend Connect
Visit RiT Illuminations to view nice pictures from your colleague

No comments:

Post a Comment